Olympian Meryl Davis Is Going for the Gold Again - but This Time, in Fashion Design!
Learn all about her stylish new gig!
You may recognize Meryl Davis from the 2014 Winter Olympics, where she and her skating partner, Charlie White, took home the gold medal for ice dancing. Or you might have caught her on TV last year during her season-long stint on Dancing With the Stars, where she, once again, took top prize, winning the championship trophy. And just one year later, the 28-year-old is adding another winning endeavor to her long list: She’s teamed up with Vera Bradley to help design a collection of colorful, lightweight scarves! To learn more about her stylish new role, we met the superstar skater at an ice rink in N.Y.C., where we skated (yes, seriously) and chatted about working with Vera Bradley, her beauty routine on and off the ice and more, below.
Courtesy Vera Bradley
Obviously, an Olympic skater knows a thing or two about looking cute in cold temps, so a venture into working with the team to design a scarf line seemed like the perfect fit for Davis after she was named a face of the brand last year.
“I got to know the people from the company and we realized we had a lot of the same ideas and outlook on design,” she tells PeopleStyle exclusively. “I’ve been working with them for roughly a year now, and it’s an incredible company with an incredible attitude all around.”
And moving from brand ambassador of the company into a creative role was a relatively easy transition for the star, who has been a fan of the brand since she was a teen.
“I would always bring this one Vera Bradley bag to my grandparents’ house in Florida, and it always reminded me of those family trips,” she says. “It was always familiar to me because of that, and it just became a really sentimental sort of thing. Growing up in the Midwest, it’s a brand that a lot of people are familiar with. You start to get attached to the product, and also the memories you associate it with.”
And deciding on scarves for her first foray into design was equally easy, says Davis, who has more than accessories than she can count in her personal collection.
“We talked about creating a product that would be something I would use every day, so maybe a gym bag, but it didn’t feel like it fit as well,” she tells PeopleStyle. “I kept telling them all along that I wear scarves every day — no matter the season, I wear scarves and hats all year long [on the ice].”
The star’s line, named the Meryl Davis Vera Bradley Rosewood Scarf Collection, boasts three pieces with bright, bold designs — a $38 multi-color floral (her favorite!), a $48 pink-and-purple polka dot and a $58 purple-and-pink pinecone. “Pink and purple are my favorite colors,” she says of her selection process. “You can really take [these designs] from one season to the next, so I really love that.”
And since the Olympian spends most of her time on the ice, she’s found creative ways to wear her scarves — around her neck, around her head and even around her waist!
“When we’re training, sometimes I’ll tie [the scarves] around my waist, or I’ll have multiple ones on,” she tells PeopleStyle. “I’ll be at the rink for like 10 hours, so not only is my neck cold, but my waist, so I’ll tie it around my waist and then I’ll have another one around my neck. It’s like keeping your body warm without having to commit to another layer.”
She adds that it adds a touch of flair to her skating wardrobe: “It’s nice to have a little bit of femininity,” she says. “When we’re training, our outfits are very different from what we’re wearing when we’re competing. When we’re competing, we have like glitter and dresses, whereas when we’re training, it’s athleticwear. So to be able to have something that has a little bit of style to it, which also keeps me warm, I love it.”
Courtesy Vera Bradley
Though working with a big brand on a mass-market product was new to her, Davis had plenty of experience in the design world: She her and her mother have designed costumes for almost every competition she’s skated in.
“I cannot draw for the life of me and my mom is a really talented artist, so usually I’ll first think about what I want in my head, and then I’ll describe it to my mom and then she’ll draw it out,” she tells PeopleStyle. “Then we’ll make adjustments and take it to my local seamstress in Detroit and she’ll make it. It’s really nice to not just draw something, but have it turn into this beautiful design I get to wear.”
Even with tough competition (and dozens of looks to consider), Davis says there’s one colorful costume that remains her favorite — even to this day. “I’m biased, but one of my favorite costumes was from my Free Dance test in 2009, we skated to Camille Saints Saëns’ “Samson & Delilah,” which is a classical, beautiful piece of music,” she says. “I remember when I was creating it, I put the leotard on and I took a piece of fabric and wrapped it around my waist — actually, exactly how I wrap my scarves sometimes — and then we ended up sticking with that shape. It happened naturally, without me having to think about it, but it actually turned out really well.”
So we know she’s got plenty of style experience on the ice, but how about her beauty routine? We asked if she could share a couple tips as we head into another chilly N.Y.C. winter. And (you may have guessed) an Olympic ice dancer’s routine is all about hydration.
“I have dry skin, so I love lotions and creams that really moisturize because the air is so dry and cold most of the year,” she tells PeopleStyle. “You know how it works, it’s windy! When I’m skating quickly all day, it’s like wind is in my face.”
When she’s competing, Davis says her makeup, which she does herself, is bolder, heavier and much more camera-friendly.
“It’s fun to play with the look of the costume with makeup, and to see the story you’re telling come to life,” she says. “I always had a really hard time with fake lashes, and I could never do them and I always wanted to, and then on Dancing with the Stars I had the most incredible makeup team, and it was there that I learned how to apply fake lashes properly. That was a fun addition.”
But she adds that sometimes her performance makeup can end up looking a little over the top: “It’s different in that people want to be able to see your features and see your face from far away, and often people are way up in the nosebleed section and you want them to be able to appreciate the performance as well. It’s a fine line — sometimes I’ll catch myself on the other side, where I look at pictures, and I’ll be like, ‘Wow, that was way too much.'”
Want to accessorize like the Olympian off the rink? Pick up one of her three Vera Bradley scarves at verabradley.com.
What do you think of Meryl’s stylish new gig? Are you a Vera Bradley fan? Are you a fan of her three new scarves? Share below!
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